What is Remote Cardiac Monitoring?
Remote cardiac monitoring is also commonly known as remote heart monitoring and is a method that involves the collection of information from a patient’s implantable rhythm management device. The collected data from such cardiac monitoring devices is transmitted directly to a physician’s office, allowing a medical professional and their team to review the results promptly. Thus, heart monitoring eliminates the need for a patient to be physically present by assessing device performance remotely.
Remote Cardiac Monitoring (RCM) devices are typically used for remote cardiac monitoring. These devices are at-home machines that allow patients’ electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring and remotely transfer data to a healthcare team. Implantable cardiac devices such as pacemakers are essentially like small computers and can thus seamlessly gather and share meaningful information.
This is done when the remote heart monitoring devices sync with a transmitter and transfer the collected data. The transmitter, in turn, communicates the data to a medical health professional via a secured portal. Only a patient’s medical care team is allowed access to that portal.
There are several kinds of RCMs, and their use depends upon the medical condition of a patient or what a medical professional thinks may be needed. For example, there are some devices that store and transmit data to physicians constantly and automatically. In contrast, there are others that may need to be activated only when a patient exhibits specific symptoms.
When should you use remote cardiac monitoring?
Medical health professionals typically recommend remote cardiac monitoring to patients with chronic heart diseases or to those who require immediate and persistent monitoring. Physicians usually advise remote cardiac monitoring to individuals with the following medical conditions:
- Frequent fainting or shortness of breath
- Cardiac Arrhythmia (a medical condition that entails an abnormal heartbeat)
- Sporadically felt heart pains that may not be detectable when visiting a doctor
- High risk of cardiovascular disorders
- History of heart conditions
Types of Remote Cardiac Monitoring Devices
A Holter is a remote cardiac monitoring device that tracks a patient’s heart rhythm with the help of small electrodes attached to the skin. This device is generally worn for about 24-48 hours and is then returned for information download and analysis. A Holter is typically used if a patient exhibits symptoms that standard electrocardiograms fail to detect or suffers from infrequent irregular heart rhythms.
Mobile Cardiac Telemetry (MCT)
A Mobile Cardiac Telemetry device records a patient’s ECG and transmits the data electronically to a healthcare professional. MCT boasts several innovative in-built functions, such as automated, real-time monitoring, making it one of the most advanced technological devices in heart monitoring.
This device is typically worn for about 3-30 days and is usually recommended to patients who suffer from abnormal heart rhythms and require consistent and long-term monitoring.
An event monitoring device is used for longer-term monitoring where a patient can trigger a recording if they are feeling symptomatic. This device also possesses an auto-trigger for bradycardia, tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, or pauses. An event monitor is typically worn for about 3 to 30 days and automatically sends the recorded information to a specified healthcare team.
What are the benefits of remote cardiac monitoring?
Like any other branch of telemedicine, remote cardiac monitoring holds major benefits, especially for chronic and elderly patients. The ability to continuously monitor a patient’s cardiac health and the functioning of their rhythm management significantly enhances the quality of healthcare provision and also proves life-saving in several circumstances.
Different researchers back up these notions. For example, a study conducted in this domain showed that remote cardiac monitoring caused a 65% reduction in hospitalizations because of atrial arrhythmia. Another study concluded that cardiac monitoring devices reduce about 80% of the time taken to detect clinical or health-related events. Patients who benefit from remote monitoring devices also have a 2x greater probability of survival than those without this facility.
In addition, remote heart monitoring also proves relatively cost-effective as patients who use these devices are least likely to have a number of follow-up visits and hospital admissions. Even those who do get admitted typically have shorter stays. Pacemaker patients with remote cardiac monitoring devices have to spend about 9% more on average than those without. Similarly, patients with other implantable devices save about 17% more than others.
Patient data at SmartClinix’s remote patient monitoring software is continuously stored, monitored, and received seamlessly, and a medical health professional is automatically informed in case of an emergency. SmartClinix offers a smart and innovative telemedicine platform for convenient RPM where medical professionals can grow their practice, increase revenue, and boost patient compliance and retention, all through a few easy steps. Head over to SmartClinix right now to register and get to know more!
Dr. Josh is a physician who's helping spread the knowledge about Telehealth and its advantages. At SmartClinix, he's providing his expertise and knowledge in the form of engaging articles on various health & tech related topics.